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Published: Mar 22, 2012

After giving birth to puppies, female dogs must be carefully monitored, especially during the first few weeks following delivery. New canine mothers are susceptible to eclampsia, which is a potentially life-threatening medical condition caused by a drop in blood calcium levels that occurs in dogs nursing young puppies.

Clinical signs of eclampsia in dogs include tremors, weakness and a form of paralysis that will cause a dog to become very stiff and will prevent the dog from standing or walking. Dog seizures may also occur in severe cases.

VCA Animal Hospitals states that eclampsia is an emergency medical condition and any dog suffering from this illness must be taken to a veterinary hospital immediately. Treat the severity of eclampsia as you would a heart attack or stroke - the dog needs help right away. Most dogs with eclampsia require intravenous injections of calcium in order for their clinical signs to resolve.  Many dogs will require other medications and some may even need anti-seizure medication.

In order to prevent eclampsia, adding an excess of calcium to a dog's diet is not recommended, as this can cause other issues. However, ensure that the dog has a proper diet with the correct balance of vitamins and minerals by feeding a diet formulated for pregnancy and nursing.  If a dog has experienced eclampsia, they may require a source of oral calcium until their puppies are weaned and it is usually best to wean the new puppies as soon as possible to reduce the burden on the mother.